Patriotism, art, and "the star-spangled banner" in World War I: A new look at the karl muck episode

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3 Scopus citations


While scholars have tended to position overtly patriotic works firmly on the lower registers of American cultural hierarchies, the debates surrounding German conductor Karl Mucks reluctance to conduct "The Star-Spangled Banner" with the Boston Symphony Orchestra during World War I serve as a lens into the complex, shifting cultural position that patriotic music actually occupies. Competing opinions on whether Muck should conduct "The Star-Spangled Banner" placed patriotism alternately below, above, and on the same hierarchical plane as art. Moreover, these debates activated a preexisting discourse on the songs difficulty level, allowing "The Star-Spangled Banner" to operate simultaneously as a popular work to be sung by all Americans and a sophisticated composition to be studied by skilled performers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-26
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Musicological Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music

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